Green Pasta Salad

Itching for the summer?

So am I, which is why I came up with this recipe for pasta salad. Although it always tastes better by a pool/at a BBQ/in the sun/with a cold beer/while wearing shorts, it will bring a little bit of sunshine to these cold winter days.

The recipe mostly came from my own head, aside from scanning through some different pasta salad recipes that I could find to see which parts I'd like to use for mine. I call this green pasta salad because those were the only colored veggies I used.

1/2 lb pasta
8oz frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp parsley
1/8 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Makes about 4 servings

Boil the pasta according to directions on package. This pasta salad would work best with a shaped pasta rather than a vermicelli or fettuccine type. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables by defrosting, cutting, etc. Add the sugar and spices to the veggies and mix. Once the pasta is drained and cooled, add the vegetables to the pasta. Then add the mayonnaise and the vinegar and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

This recipe is very versatile. Next time I make this, I might just omit the spinach because it didn't do a whole lot that I could taste, it was just something in my freezer to give it more bulk. You could also use a bit less mayo and I think it would still taste relatively the same. My roommate said she really likes it! I hope you enjoy your taste of summer as much as I did. 

Not Quite Nutter Butters

So honestly, I forgot I made these cookies a couple of weekends ago. I was getting over being sick and still in that weird fog. I remembered that I made some Ramen recipe that failed, but figured that was it and didn't have any new recipes to upload. Silly me.

Well, I made these knock off Nutter Butters. My throat was all sore so they went down pretty rough, and with all the struggles I had I concluded they weren't very good. But I think my problem was that I was eating them warm, hence expecting them to be soft and gooey. Generally I like my cookies that way, but once you've refrigerated these cookies they are excellent all crunchy-like.

Tom liked them despite his sore throat as well, and his mom even went back for seconds even though she barely eats sweets. So, hopefully you kept reading my rambling and realized I've concluded that this is a great recipe, because otherwise it would just seem silly for me to put up a bad recipe. (Don't worry, I delete those off my hard drive.)

I had to modify this recipe a bit, but I originally found it here.

1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup instant oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1/2 stick butter
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt a half stick of butter in a medium skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the oats to the pan. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly so the oats do not burn. Your oats should be slightly toasted. In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside. In a mixer, cream the other half stick of butter. Slowly mix in the sugars, and then the peanut butter. Add the flour mixture and set the mixer on slow until the batter becomes the consistency of dough. Add more flour if necessary. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with the back of a fork. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. While the cookies are in the oven, prepare the filling. In a mixer combine   the butter and salt until the butter is creamy. Add the peanut butter and sugar and combine. Once the cookies have cooled, assemble two cookies with the filling in between. (Or if you in your sick haze make the cookies way too thick, you can just spread the filling on top of each cookie.)

5 Layer Dip

Better late than never, here is the dip I made for the Superbowl. I gave whatever sickness I had to Tom so I spent the whole weekend at his house being his nurse. 

This recipe comes from a friend's cousin who I met once but specifically remembered what she put in her dip because it was that good. I would give her credit but I don't even remember her name. I brought this to a Superbowl party and my friends seemed to enjoy it. (Well, the ones without food allergies. My friends are somewhat a mess when it comes to that department.) We ended up getting bored with the game since none of us really like football and the Patriots weren't playing so we didn't have a team to even root for. Our Superbowl party ended up becoming a You're Cut Off party. (Boy, do I love that show. There is something mesmerizing about the dumbest, most spoiled women on the planet.)

I don't really have measurements for this recipe. I just sort of used however much looked good. 

2 chicken breasts
1/2 onion
guacamole (Homemade; we used 2 avocados, lemon juice and garlic. But if you want to get fancy you can try my real guac recipe here.)
sour cream
colby-jack cheese, shredded 
cilantro or scallions (optional)

First, caramelize the onions in a small saucepan. In a separate pan, cook the chicken breasts thoroughly, sprinkling it with ground pepper as it cooks. This will be your bottom layer. I used a pie plate to put the dip in.

Next, add a layer of salsa. I used medium salsa; my guacamole was a little garlic-y so I thought the hotness wasn't too overbearing.

On top of the salsa goes the guacamole. You can use a pre-made guacamole or quickly whip up your own. Usually guacamole is basically avocado, garlic and lime juice. 

The next layer is sour cream. If you are watching your waist, use a low-fat sour cream. 

The final layer is the colby-jack cheese. Be generous. Everyone loves cheese. 

I topped my dip with cilantro. I meant to use scallions, or green onions, but I forgot the name. I said something about small green things that are on top of Taco Bell's Mexican pizzas to my dad and the first spice that came to mind was cilantro, so that's what we picked up. It wasn't bad, but I think scallions would have been a nice touch.

Finally, when you are ready to eat your dip, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melty. Serve with tortilla chips.

My 21st Birthday Weekend

Better late than never, a week after this all happened, I'm finally blogging about it. I have been sick for a majority of the week so using brain power was at the bottom of my list. 

So anyway, here is what I woke up to the morning of, Thursday the 27th. My lovely roommate Nicole had the whole living room decorated with streamers and balloons for when I woke up all groggy at 8am. (Please ignore the mess that is our apartment.)

Then I went about the rest of my day with class, getting my license renewed and all that fun stuff. (My license photo came out awesome, and on the first try! RMVs have definitely upgraded their cameras since I was 16.)

When I returned home Tom picked me up and took me out to one of our favorite restaurants, Judie's (where we went on our first date). Here I ordered my first big girl drink with dinner. A Bahama Mama. I'd heard the name before but never had really given much thought to it or known what was in it. I saw pineapple juice on the description on the menu and I was in. My favorite part was that it came with a slice of lemon, orange and lime. Boy was that thing strong. But delicious. But strong. I was tipsy by 6:00 in the evening. 

After we left the restaurant, Tom took me to my first liquor store purchase. We spoke with the cashier about how it was my birthday and he handed me the money so I could pay for it like parents do with little kids. I really did feel like a little kid, all grown up in this beautiful store. It had never occurred to me that alcohol went on sale, and that realization was a glorious thing.

We stopped at the grocery store and bought the ingredients for mojitos. I had been talking about mojitos for months. Here's our (yay finally) recipe:
1 shot white rum 
1/2 lime
2 tsp sugar
5 mint leaves
1 cup club soda

First you squeeze the lime juice into a glass and drop in your mint leaves. Then using a pestle, grind up the mint leaves as much as possible. Add the sugar, then grind it all together again. Fill the glass with ice and then add the rum and soda. 
Just couldn't help myself with these pretty mint leaves.
That night, I went to a bar and got denied my 2 forms of identification at a snooty bar in town. Tom, my friend and I ended up at a hipster bar called the Moan and Dove that only served beer and luckily for me, hard cider. It was not the wild 21st birthday that everyone talks about, but I still had a nice time. 

Day 2 was the night where I got to hang out with all my friends, the majority of whom are still underage. We went to a club called Diva's that is 18+ and there I had my first Sex on the Beach. Growing up this was the first drink name I ever knew, and it is probably similar for most everyone else. We would giggle at the thought of such a dirty drink name. I never knew what was in it, but I googled it after and discovered it's really easy to make. I'm going to make it at home sometime, and I will of course share the recipe. Unfortunately, no pictures of that one, since the trusty boyfriend had my camera and the drink was gone before we could even think about a photo shoot. 

I did, however, take a picture of my pre-drinking meal. This is also my favorite sick meal. Pasta with peas and butter. Never fails.

Finally, on Sunday night my family came out to Amherst and took Tom and I out to dinner. We went to my all time favorite restaurant, Bertucci's. Funny that my favorite restaurant happens to be a chain. Anyway, there were about five mixed drinks on the menu and I knew immediately which one I had to have. The Tiramisu Martini. Yes, it is just as good as it sounds, possibly better. The next time you eat at Berucci's I highly recommend it. 
I think it was better than a real tiramisu, which I had for dessert afterwards.